The MeMo Pad 8 is the latest tablet in Asus’ MeMo Pad lineup. With an 8 inch display running Android “KitKat”, the most-recent version of Google’s mobile operating system, and a $149 price tag it might be hard to believe how much value is crammed into this ultra-thin budget tablet. At a hefty $250 discount when compared to the latest offering in Apple’s iPad mini lineup you may be expecting this Android tablet to be gutted by comparison, you would be wrong! While it does not offer quite the same speed as it’s Apple counterparts it brings as respectable 1.33 GHz to the table, as well as a solid 9 hour battery life. The only notable features missing in comparison are a flash and thumbprint detection.
The Intel Atom 73745 “Bay Trail” processor is the same as that found in the smaller Asus MeMO Pad 7, with a speed rating of between 1.33 GHz and 1.86 GHz -when overclocked, referred to as “bursts”. While those bursts of speed don’t last, they do give you a little extra speed temporarily when you need it, which does wonders to make up for the less than ideal 1GB of RAM. Regardless of all this, a consistent 1.33GHz is nothing to balk at, especially when the affordable price is taken into account.
With 8.3 x 4.9 inch dimensions overall the MeMo pad uses no unnecessary space fitting it’s 8″ screen. With a thickness of just 0.3 inches it comes across as smaller than you would expect and fits wonderfully in your hand(s). The soft rubber backing feels higher quality than it might initially sound and gives you the advantage of more grip than you receive from other tablets, especially if you are using it with just one hand. With a nearly seamless transition from the face to the back shell you certainly get the feeling that quality was not overlooked when developing this affordable tablet. I was unaware of the price when I first tested the MeMo Pad 8 and the culmination of build quality and features left me very surprised when I learned it’s price, you would expect it to be much more expensive if you judge it by feel alone.
The upper right hand corner contains the the volume and power key, both of which are slightly angled towards the back of the tablet. This angling threw me for a loop at first, after years of instinctively pressing directly on the side on other tablets. However there is some wisdom in this approach as it prevents those annoying instances of accidentally putting your tablet to sleep during use. While it isn’t a foolproof solution to those accidental shut downs. I have to admit it is an improvement from the industry standard. Along with the power and volume keys the outer edge holds the Micro USB charging port, headphone jack, and most importantly the microSD card slot. The ability to add additional memory gives the MeMo Pad 8 huge bonus points in our book.
While the MeMo Pad 8 runs Android “KitKat”, the Google’s latest update to it’s mobile operating system, a good portion of the traditionally bundled Google apps have been substituted for Asus versions, such as the calendar, email, calculator, and contacts client. While they still all provide the same function and are virtually identical to their Google counterparts, we would have preferred if they had just kept the Google versions, they are pretty well versed when it comes to software development after all. In the end it’s a rather small nit pick in an overall amazing package, and we did appreciate the included 500 Gigabyte cloud service Asus provides for free (for 2 years).
Thankfully the camera software has been left completely untouched from other Android devices. You still get all the great control and manual camera programs that you’ve come to love it you are an avid Android photographer. The camera itself is not quite up to the resolution of the latest cutting edge smartphones, but again this is a budget tablet not the latest tech. When you look at the camera through that lens it’s value really shines through. The 5-megapixel sensor and fast auto-focusing produce great images with little effort, especially when combined with the pre-programmable settings before you take a shot, e.g. night mode, HDR, depth of field, beautification.
With a solid design and more than enough performance for all but the absolute top end consumer, the Asus MeMo Pad 8 accomplishes everything the average person is looking for in a tablet. Combined with the affordable $159 price tag and its easy to see why the MeMo Pad is one of the best budget tablets you can buy.